What’s the difference between copywriting and content writing?

Copywriting and content writing are often misunderstood—and people get the two confused. While they overlap in some ways, there is a considerable difference between them in terms of purpose. 

Copywriting primarily involves writing for marketing or advertising purposes, whereas content writing is more concerned with informing, entertaining, and engaging the reader so they stay with the brand. 

If you’re a business looking to hire a content writer or copywriter, it’s quite important to know how these roles differ, as each has its own objectives and challenges. Let’s take a closer look at both below.

What is the purpose of copywriting?

Copywriting persuades. It uses language to convince a reader to take an action, such as buying a product, downloading a book, or engaging with a company. Similar to sales writing, it’s mainly used in advertising, sales copy, email, digital ads, and landing pages.

What does a content writer do? 

Unlike copywriting, content writing produces content that educates, informs, and entertains readers. Content writers produce content for many blogs, websites, social media pages, and emails. The content is intended to strengthen the relationship between the brand and the reader.

In other words, content helps build relationships, rather than driving a particular action. It’s an engagement tool used to attract, educate, or inspire potential customers. It might even be interactive, such as when a blog post encourages readers to comment. 

So, although both are types of writing that support the business, copywriting and content writing have different purposes and strategies. Too often, people looking to outsource written communications confuse the two, not knowing that the distinction alters the goals of a writing project and affects the results.

If you’re not sure which type of writing you need, ask yourself: How do I want the reader to react? If you want your reader to buy something, you need copy; if you want your reader to think about what you’re saying and make connections to their own life, you’re probably looking for content.